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First accumulating snow of the season: Lake effect flurries roll through southern Ontario

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Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Thursday, October 24, 2013, 6:49 -

Lake effect snow lead to a slower commute for drivers north of the GTA Thursday morning. 

A special weather statement was issued for several communities including Barrie, Orillia, Midland, Dufferin, Innisfil, and Grey Bruce.

"Lake effect snow has given a winter-like tone to the weather to the lee of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay," said Environment Canada in their special weather statement.

Between 5 to 10 cm of snow fell in some areas like Barrie early Thursday with an additional 2 to 5 cm likely before the snow changes to wet flurries or rain showers through the afternoon, Environment Canada adds. 

As a result, motorists are advised to use caution as some road surfaces may become snow covered and slippery.


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According to Gina Ressler, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, late October is the prime time for lake effect snow as the Great Lakes are still relatively warm. 

"The temperature difference between the water and the air aloft creates a layer of instability, and if the winds align in the right way, lake effect snow squalls can develop," Ressler explains.

In addition to the snow, there's also a risk for waterspout formation through Friday.

Waterspouts are considered to be weak tornadoes over water and they're normally seen in the early fall. 

"As the cooler air to the north passes over the warm lakes, it provides the perfect environment for waterspouts to kick up," explains Brian Dillon, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. 

Although most waterspouts tend to stay over water, they do have the potential to come onshore. 

As a result, it's best to keep a safe distance if you see one occur.

The Weather Network's Jaclyn Whittal explains the difference between a waterspout and tornado.

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